Mum slams ‘disgusting’ attendance letter sent by Derbyshire school after son’s health issues

An irate mum has blasted a ‘disgusting’ letter sent by a Derbyshire school in relation to her son’s attendance amid ongoing health issues.

Thursday, 5th May 2022, 3:25 pm

Gemma Radford, 36, says she was horrified to receive a letter from Swanwick Hall School threatening potential legal action if she fails to ensure her 14-year-old son regularly attends school.

Bradley has been vomiting bile regularly since last July and has reportedly missed 82 days of school which, alongside six late marks, puts his rate of attendance at 32.73 per cent – considerably lower than the 97 per cent target.

However, the Year 10 pupil from Shirland was recently diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) after numerous doctors and hospital appointments, a factor Gemma believes has not taken into consideration.

Gemma Radford has hit out at Swanwick Hall School for the 'disgusting' letter she received over her son's attendance

She said: “He was being sick every day with bile and got sent home every day from school. We were going to the GP on and off, literally every week.

"They put him on four lots of medication to start off with then every three months that was changing because it wasn’t working. They couldn’t find out what was wrong with Bradley. It took six months for him to get a consultation through the NHS.

"While this was going off the school, the GP, and I agreed to let Bradley come in between 11am and 3.30pm.

“I sent emails about medication, appointments, everything. It's disgusting when you have kept the school informed every day what's going on then you get a letter about attendance.

Bradley has missed 82 days of school, something which his mum Gemma says is down to his ongoing health issues

"It states he’s had 82 days off – half of that was doctors appointments, hospital, medication, then six lates which they agreed. I think it’s disgusting saying that I’m to blame.”

The letter from Swanwick Hall School invited Gemma to a formal attendance panel hearing to discuss the matter in full on May 5.

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However, she refused to attend and has since removed Bradley from school, deciding to instead educate him at home after allegedly seeking permission from Derbyshire County Council.

But, in another blow, Gemma now faces having to pay around £1,500 to put Bradley through his GCSEs.

She added: “It sounds to me like they wanted a contract to say Bradley wasn’t going to have any time off. I couldn’t guarantee that because he’s got appointments – he’s currently on 30mg of Lansoprazole (to reduce stomach acid).

"I’ve had two bad days with him now so I was told it was best to home educate him due to medical reasons.

"I’ll have to pay for his GCSEs which I don’t think is fair; I’m on Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

"I’m not getting any support whatsoever from the school, for all the stress they’ve caused I want compensation from them.

"Bradley is very angry, upset and hurt because of it all.”

A spokesperson for the Swanwick Hall School said: “The health and wellbeing of our students is of the upmost importance. We aim to maximise their emotional and physical wellbeing, while giving them the best chance to learn and reach their full potential.

"We work closely with families to support the needs of their children, and this case has been no different. We will continue to work with all parties involved to achieve an outcome which is best for the student and their wellbeing.”

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